Auburn Industrial Design Students Place in Groovystuff by Design Challenge
Xin Li’s “Coffee Table” won the popular vote at the October High Point Market in the Groovystuff by Design: Connecting Education with Industry Challenge. Bethany Marchman’s “Railroad Bench” and Keith Locke’s “Barrel Storage” came in second place. Working under the direction of Tin Man Lau, Alumni Professor of Industrial Design, Li, Marchman, and Locke were among the seventeen Auburn industrial design students (plus thirteen Shu-Te exchange students) who participated in the collaboration between the school and Groovystuff. The students developed residential home furnishing products made with reclaimed materials found in the Groovystuff product line. Li’s “Coffee Table” was selected by a vote of trade professionals and will be produced full scale for the spring 2015 High Point Market where her design will participate in the “Most in Sales” design challenge and the opportunity for her design to become part of the Dick Idol Brand of Home Furnishings. Li is a graduate student, and Marchman and Locke are fourth-year students in the industrial design program in the School of Industrial + Graphic Design.
Auburn industrial design students have been collaborating with Groovystuff for four years, and some of their furniture designs are now in the Groovystuff By Design’s product line. Meghan’s Wilson’s “Diverso Game Table” is in the 2014 product catalog. Featured in the 2013 product catalog are Brent Dutton’s “Pathos” patio chair, Rachel Jones’s “Eclipse” mirror, and Chad Griffith’s “Señor” coat rack.
In the Groovystuff by Design: Connecting Education with Industry Challenge, students design a sustainably producible item that reflects the Dick Idol Legends rustic brand. The second stage of the contest takes place at the spring High Point Market, and the winner is determined by which the full-scale model receives the most written orders.
As Professor Lau explains, “Working with Groovystuff not only allows students to work with someone in the furniture field but it also opens up a door for students, as well as Auburn, to the furniture industry because student works will travel to different furniture shows beside the High Point Market. Their designs will be shown in Las Vegas, Dallas, and Atlanta in the coming year. The project also gives students an awareness of sustainability.”
Groovystuff was founded in 1998 by Chris Bruning. Groovystuff uses reclaimed materials in the design, production, and wholesale distribution of rustic, contemporary, and eco-friendly commercial and residential furniture, lighting, and home décor. Bruning established the Groovystuff Foundation in 2010 to support the design competitions and nurture home furnishings design talent in partnership with leading U.S. colleges and universities. “The Groovystuff by Design Challenge epitomizes how the industry should connect education” according to the September 15-12 issue of Furniture|Today, article, “Some ways to scout for next generation of designers.”